Rift Deepens Between Maliki and Nujaifi

Bassem Badri, a member of the Maliki-led Islamic Dawa Party, has been assigned as the new head of the Justice and Accountability Committee.

Amid the ongoing conflict, the committee is functioning under the auspices of two heads, the first supported by Maliki and the second backed by Nujaifi.

As the crisis develops further, especially in the wake of Nujaifi’s decision, the State of Law coalition is seeking to oust the speaker, certainly not for the first time.

The leading positions in Iraq have been distributed according to political agreements: the president is to be Kurdish, the prime minister Shiite and the speaker of parliament Sunni.

Maliki’s attempt to oust Nujaifi is expected to ignite vehement opposition, since he would be violating the same agreement that brought him to power. Ongoing Sunni protests will make Maliki’s attempt even harder. Nujaifi’s ouster would add fuel to the fire, since he is the most prominent Sunni political figure.

Meanwhile, Maliki is trying to reinstate Mahmoud to his position in the Judicial Council. Local news agencies in Iraq broadcasted on Feb. 17 a newsflash stating that Mahmoud has returned to Iraq following his dismissal after a trip abroad.

A close political source to the ruling Shiite National Iraqi Alliance told Al-Monitor that Mahmoud has appealed to the Court of Cassation and is likely to win the lawsuit and regain his post.

Meanwhile, Iraqi politicians and observers believe that Maliki will win and restore the posts of his supporters. But his opponents are certainly preparing to strike again.

Ali Abel Sadah is a writer and journalist from Baghdad working in both Iraqi and Arab media. He was the editorial manager of a number of local newspapers, and was a political and cultural reporter for over 10 years.

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